Review Sandals Ochi...with many photos!
Sandals Ochi, Pcho Rios, Jamaica

Jan. 21 - Feb. 9, 2017

I'm Patricia Blackstock and my husband is Wally Snider.We have been enjoying all-inclusive couples-only resorts since 1997. Here's our 2017 review of Sandals Ocho Rios.

This was out 2nd vacation at Sandals Ochi. We first visited this Sandals Resort in 2013, and at that time we knew we would love to do it again. It took awhile, but this vacation was well worth the wait. We have been to many Sandals resorts (as you know if you've been reading my reviews over the years.) Sandals Ochi meets and exceeds other Sandals Resorts due to attentiveness to detail, service, food and overall "welcome." We met so many returning guests this year who enjoyed telling what it is they love most about Sandals Ochi, and why they return year after year.

Sandals Ochi does not have the beauty of some other Sandals resorts. It does not have an outstanding beach. It does not even have a Cafe de Paris! But...it makes up for all of this this with superb service and attention to detail. And oh yes...The Rabbit Hole! (See my photo gallery below). You will need a password to enter, but it's all in fun!

We were greeted by name from management and many other employees. They are exceedingly detail-oriented, a perk for being a Diamond Level guest. (Last year at Sandals Antigua there was never a mention of Diamond Level members - not even once!) At the Sandals Antigua we were treated like first-time visitors to the Sandals chain. Overall, Antigua was a disappointment due in a big part to the accommodations. You can read all my Sandals Reviews here.

But Sandals Ochi knows how to do everything right!! We were presented with cookies on a plate, plus a 1-lb. bag of Sandals Mountain Blend Coffee.

We really enjoyed the white-glove luncheon for Diamond Level members which was a wonderful was a wonderful way to meet long-time Sandals fans, compare memories and share resort information. Thank you for hosting this very special lunch, Ochi staff!
Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3

We booked the Club Level (formerly concierge) which has been our comfort zone for several years. We had the pleasure of working with two concierges - Tenniel and Shawne. They were both very helpful and we enjoyed them a lot!
Thanks, Tenniel and Shawne!

Our room was on the top floor of the Riviera Beachfront Tower, overlooking the beach. This is the same category we booked in 2013, and we still think it offers the best patio views in the resort. Although small, both sides of the patio are walled-in, so there was no chance that our privacy might be invaded by neighbors. While I know we had neighbors, we never saw nor heard anything on either side. During earlier research on the building, I read complaints about noise. Maybe it was because we were on the top floor and the noise didn't drift that far, but we were never bothered.
Room photo gallery Photos rotate every 5 seconds. Click any photo to stop the rotation.

Bar Room Service: We requested a bottle of Bailey's Original Irish Creme, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Champagne - all of which were delivered to our room each day or or on an "as needed" basis. It was perfect. Thanks, Sandals Ochi! Some of our requests even showed up in our morning coffee!

Returning Guest Night: Tuesday. Because of our vacation schedule, we could have attended two Returning Guest dinners. However, as much as we enjoyed meeting other guests and chatting with some of the stafff members we decided once was sufficient since the order of events, announcements, awards, etc. is pretty much the same, week to week. We were presented with a bottle of Appleton Special Rum and were on the list of Diamond members. Returning Guest 1 - Returning Guest 2 - Returning Guest 3

White Night - Chocolate Night: Wednesday. Because of our vacation dates, we were able to attended this event twice. It was a truly amazing production, probably the best we've seen at a Sandals resort. It included live music, dancing and beautifully-designed costumes. And of course there was enough chocolate to feed the entire United States Armed Forces!
Photo Gallery Photos rotate every 5 seconds. (Click any photo to stiop the rotation!)

Bars: There are 11 bars on the property, but our favorite was the Polo Lounge on the Hillside. It is beautifully decorated in dark wood with an expansive bar, a piano and seating both indoors and on the huge outdoor patio. It has the look abd feel of Old Money, but our most-frequented bar was the swim-up pool bar, located near watersports. A special thanks to Capprice at our nearby pool bar. Is she did not see us at the bar, she would often seek us out at the pool to ask if we needed anything. One of the many bars - and another. Just walk or swim right up and enjoy your favorite drinks. The bartenders were good at taking requests, and they offer their own speciality drinks. Since we are frequent Sandals travelers, we knew our favorite drinks in advance: Mudslide, Hummingbird,BBC, Chocolate Martini, Miami Vice, Jamaican Smile, Dirty Banana, B52, Bob Marley, and even a Funky Monkey.

Super Bowl:
We always seem to end up at a Sandals for the Super Bowl. Snadals knows how to handle these events! Lots of wide-screens, plenty of food and drinks... and everyone cheering for their team! As anyone who saw this game knows, it was an amazinf game!
Super Bowl - Super Bowl 2 - Super Bowl 3

House keeping: Fantastic job! We never had to ask for anything, and I think that may be a first. There were always plenty of towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. etc. etc. The coffee pot was always clean, with plenty of coffee, creamer and containers. We always enjoy the “towel art” left on the bed to surprise each evening when we returned to our room..
Towel 1 - Towel 2 - Towel 3 - Towel 4

Nightlife Entertainment: We loved the almost-new addition at Ochi…a Speakeasy named the Rabbit Hole. We also enjoyed the piano bar a few times, and of course the Jamaican talent was excellent! Here's our video (YouTube) of the Rabbit Hole:

Local Entertainment 1 - Local Entertainment 2

Photo Gallery of the Rabbit Hole Speakeasy Photos rotate every 5 seconds. Click on any photo to stop rotation.

Red Lane® Spa:
We always look forward to our couples massage! We combined our 30 minutes with another 30 minutes and up-graded to an hour-long Deep Massage. Our room credit took care of the difference. While I wod not choose this massage again (a little too deep for me) it was an excellent experience and we very much enjoyed out Couples Massage.

Dining:
16 dining choices and 12 bars - and not enough time in our 9 night vacation. On our first full day we made our reservations through the concierge office. We asked for and received 2 nights at Kelly’s Dockside. From our past experience at both Sandals St. Lucian and Sandals Antigua, we knew one evening was not enough. The food was fantastic, Kimono’s has always been a delight, and this time was no exception. Our first dining experience at Le Gourmand proved to be outstanding. Valentinos, The Reef and Neptune’s were all very good.

The weakest restaurant in our opinion is the Southern Table. We would pass on this one. Of course part of this may be that we're both southern. We live in South Carolina and we have plenty of award-winning chefs and restaurants specializing in southern dishes, especially seafood! I also enjoy cooking real Southerm meals. In other words, we are spoiled. The grits here tasted like Cream of Wheat, and I'll bet y'all pigs to polecats they didn't contain any heavy cream! Or a proper amount of cheese. The other uninspiring so-called Southern food items were meh.

A few photos: Chateaubriand from Le Gourmand, Roasted Lamb from Le Gourmand Lobster from Kelly's Dockside

We did not take advantage of the “breakfast in bed” offer which also comes with Diamond Level, although we heard from other guests that the food was good and the service was excellent

Sunset Cruise:
By the time we took the Sunset Cruise, we had already met some other Sabdals guests and were happy to see them board with us. It was a fairly long cruise - about 2.5 hours - but the time passed too quickly as we enjoyed ourselves. And since it’s Sandals, ther was of course, lots of food and drinks throughout the cruise. The staff seemed to enjoy themselves themselves as much as we did, and everone loved seeing the lovely coastline with a sunset before we docked.

Photo Gallery of the Sunset Cruise Photos rotate every 5 seconds. Click any photo to stop rotation.

Snorkeing:
Wally enjoyed the snorkeling each day except one when it was too cloudy. Snorkeling trips were closer to the resort shore compared to our previous vacation. They used to go out to further, including the sunken boat wreck, but now there is an additional fee of about $25. to go that far. Must be a cost-cutting move and we are sorry to see that happen.s. Thanks to Captain Albert (Fat Abert) as well as
Wesley and Tashane - The snorkel boat - Watersports sign

Glass Bottom Boat:
Not much to see but a few small fish. As we came back along the coastline, other resorts were pointed out to us. The kid on the boat said “There's Sans Souci. It means ‘without care’ because they don’t care.” Apparently he thought this was funny. We didn't. We have vacationed at Sans Souci and it is a beautiful resort. We heard practically the same, obviously rehersed, words on our previous Sandals Ochi from Sandals enployees. Come on, Sandals. Don't knock your competition. This sort of thing does not improve your reputation.

We spoke a few times with the GM, Ramel Sobrino. He seemed to be everywhere at once and obviously loves his job. Here we are, outside the Riviera Beachfront tower.

Sandals Ochi was a wonderful and relaxing vacation for us! We met so many delightful guests and staff members, and the overrall experience was outstanding. We miss y'all already!

The rest of the 40+ more photos in a gallery

Suggestions To Sandals Ochi for improvement:

Even though we had in-room registration, it took 45 minutes to get our bags. That’s a long time when you're anxious to get out of your winter clothes and into shorts and a t-shirt.

Riviera Beachfront Tower. It is bacly showing its age and needa an update. I said the same thing when we were there in 2013, but the only improvement since then is extra lighting in the bathroom. While I still think this level has the best views at the resort, it is far from the tech age we're living in now. If nothing else, please replace those ancient lamps by the beds and put in some outlets with USB ports as you find today in most hotel. The lamp shades are frayed and worn out, and the inside of one was dark with ugly splotches. In 2013 we had some internet equipment, but in 2017 we have more. Each night we needed to plug in and charge: 2 Apple Watches, 2 laptops, camera batteries and changers, plus 2 iPhones. These rooms are not equipped, and in these days of fast-changing technical advancements. I should not have to climb under beds and desks, hoping to find an outlet I moight have missed.

Red Lane® Spa - If Sandals really wants to claim the title of a 5-star resort, they should not allow their spa people to come around bothering guests at the pool in order to pimp their products. People are at the pool to swim, drink, read or nap. This behavior does NOT happen at a true luxury resort. Additionally, they need to cut back on the sales pitch after a massage or treatment.

We very much missed having a Cafe de Paris which we love at other Sandals. We especially missed it when wew discovered there was no ice cream available except soft-serve (like Dairy Queen.)

Many thanks to our travel agent, Amy McHugh with Dream Makers Vacation Services
She has been helping us plan our all-inclusive vacations since 2007 and we wouldn't think of booking without her help and advice. If you are considering a travel agent for your next vacation, tell her I sent you. (Why not? It's free to you!)

Questions? Contact me anytime!

The Sandals Ochi resort map HERE.

Allall-inclusive (and other) vacations are HERE

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